South Africa Allegedly Stolen Coal. Source Twitter

South African Energy Contractors Accused of Stealing Coal and Shipping it to Europe

Essay by Eric Worrall

First published JoNova; How low will they go? Europe has been accused receiving stolen shipments of high quality coal from Africa, while they push Africa to embrace the useless renewables which have failed to provide Europe’s energy needs.

Press play on the video above. The still image doesn’t adequately convey the sheer scale of the alleged coal heist, the convoy just goes on and on.

JoNova has a more complete post on the desperate state of South Africa’s energy system, the rampant corruption and blackouts. The tweet above is from JoNova’s post.

The following is a story which corroborates widespread criminal activity in Eskom Energy Company’s supply chain network.

Arrest of Eskom truck driver hints at criminal grip over SA’s coal value chain

By David McKay
Nov 23, 2022

THE arrest of a coal truck driver highlights the extent of problems Eskom faces as it seeks to stem corruption it says is costing the country billions of rands.

The Government-owned utility detailed how security services arrested a contracted employee who attempted to deliver inferior coal to its Camden power station. Coal that is delivered to Eskom has to meet with specific size, moisture and energy specifications in order it burns at the correct efficiency.

According to Eskom, the driver was employed at a coal transport company contracted by Eskom. He left the Msimbithi coal mine in Wonderfontein, Mpumalanga province with correctly sized coal which he then swapped for an inferior quality coal at an illegal coal yard. The good coal was to be traded for profit at a later stage.

“Coal theft is highly organised criminal activity and syndicates involved are being enriched through the proceeds derived from the trade in stolen coal,” said Eskom.

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That independent corruption investigation one of the tweets called for might be a long time coming. Former President Zuma disbanded South Africa’s famously untouchable anti-corruption unit over a decade ago, while they were investigating the President for alleged corruption. I’m not sure what if anything replaced the disbanded anti-corruption unit, but I’m guessing any replacement wasn’t as effective as the old unit.

Of course, corrupt African nations are not the only places where federal police have been accused of serving interests other than their sworn duty to uphold the law.

Europe might not have created this latest round of corruption and chaos in South Africa, but if there is any truth to this claim that Europe is taking advantage of Africa, adding to Africa’s corruption misery by receiving stolen goods from Africa to prop up faltering European economies, well I guess it wouldn’t be the first time.

Update (EW): Former Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter resigned on the 15th December. The following description of his resignation sheds more light on the nightmare energy situation in South Africa;

Eskom CEO quits: why finding a new head for South Africa’s struggling power utility won’t end the blackouts

Published: December 16, 2022 1.32am AEDT
David Richard Walwyn
Professor of Technology Management, University of Pretoria

For a multitude of reasons, Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter’s resignation is a huge setback for the state-owned power utility and South Africa. It comes at a time when the utility, which produces 95% of the electricity used in the country, needs stable leadership.

Behind the resignation

De Ruyter would not have had to think long about his resignation. At the top of my list is a lack of political support, with Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe accusing Eskom of treason, and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan failing to come to his defence or respecting his authority

No CEO of a state-owned entity, particularly an entity under siege by criminals, can operate effectively without political support, regardless of the loyalty of the management team or the sentiments of the board.

My second reason for asserting that De Ruyter wouldn’t have to think for long about his decision is that Eskom has lost control of its power stations to criminal elements and “rent-seekers”, who engage in purposeful malfunction and sabotage to earn higher maintenance and other fees from the utility. Drain plugs removed from motor housings, cables cut, theft of coal and diesel, death threats against station managers, are all examples from a long list of cases which are awaiting police investigation. 

Moreover, law enforcement is doing little to control the crime. There have been no convictions.

My final reason is that De Ruyter’s vision for a future, greener Eskom is not shared by his board or his ministers. South Africans need to be reminded of the present status of Eskom’s environmental emissions.

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Stuart Baeriswyl
December 27, 2022 10:37 pm

That truck convoy is amazingly long!!! Bound for the shipping port of Richardson Bay; how many truckloads of coal are needed to fill a typical sized bulker bound for Europe?

Reply to  Stuart Baeriswyl
December 28, 2022 12:17 am

a panamax size bulk carrier is around 73000 tonnes. I guess one of those lorries carries about 30 tonnes of coal. so 2433 lorries. therefore convoys of that size are to be expected.
i used to live in a major coal port in China, the entire road network was one constantly moving array of lorries. and then the trains…….
NB, biggest bulkers are 450 000 tonnes. do the maths.But they dont go to richards bay if memory serves.

Rod Evans
Reply to  peteturbo
December 28, 2022 12:45 am

Imagine what length of convoy would be needed if they were shipping hydrogen? Don’t think about the risk of that option, but that is what the Green Hydrogen movement imagine is going to be a good/safe energy option.
I’m guessing, corruption and fraud don’t exist in a Green Energy future?
You would imagine the Green energy movement, with their current experience and awareness of fraud and corruption, would be alive to what they are advancing.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Rod Evans
December 28, 2022 7:51 am

Since there is no mine for hydrogen, I’m imagining an empty road…

December 27, 2022 11:34 pm

I live in SA and these power outs are making everybody miserable.

The solution is to privatise the power supply system but the ANC see it as too valuable a source of plunder while it is in government’s hands. Like most things in South Africa the primary consideration is what’s good for the ANC.

Ron Long
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 28, 2022 1:39 am

Sort of like leaving New York for Florida?

Barnes Moore
Reply to  Ron Long
December 28, 2022 5:39 am

Except that many escaping NY are true believers, and many are not. Frankly, I would not mind if FL seceded from the US and made DeSantis president – especially if it resulted in many libs moving out of the state. We are solidly red now, but politicians of any stripe are susceptible to corruption and there are too many republicans at the federal level who buy into the nonsense of global climatewarmingchange that think “we need to do something” and support the nonsense of an all of the above energy strategy. So, I would like to know where our state reps stand on the issues. Wind, solar and batteries are a complete waste of time and money. Had we invested in nuclear what has been invested in unreliables, we would not be having the issues we are experiencing today.

Matt Kiro
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 28, 2022 2:51 am

Now they just have to deal with the European Union, which might be worse.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 28, 2022 4:09 am

brussels seems to be managing the tyrant thing quite well

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 28, 2022 7:56 am

Now with the EU they’ve finally managed that “one tyrant” thing, even though it’s a group instead of an individual.

Britain had a chance to escape with Brexit but instead has voluntarily elected (no pun intended) to act as if the EU is still it’s overseeing tyrant.

Reply to  Keitho
December 28, 2022 4:07 am

or weeding out the corrupt ones in govt..ah yes seems theyre ALL as rotten as the others

Peta of Newark
December 28, 2022 1:01 am

Nah, fake news.
That is clearly, as seen on BBC TV regularly, that is Police Operation: Block It Up and Drive ‘Em Nuts. Ver: 67,434, Edition: 92,758. Issue: 16,049. Rev: who gives a toss anymore
as regularly seen on the M12345 motorway as it wends its way across Kent towards the Chunnel and the ferry terminal at Dover.
(It may also be the M5 motorway in Gloucestershire after someone with a Dashcam recorded someone throwing a banana peel out of their car window. UK Police always gets their man.

Possibly the M62 as it goes Leeds > Manchester on rainy day. But it don’t appear to be very rainy in the vid so “No”, it’s always raining on the M62 above Manchester)

More often than not such Kent Events are orchestrated in cahoots with Layz Poleece Francais de la Frolegz, sometimes to do with claims of “Vee don’t want anymore of your steenking cheeze
But they lie, who doesn’t these days, they’re actually they’re building a stockpile of trucks so as to off-load a few squillion thousand East European refugees en route from Germany – their Calais arrival having been delayed by some petty bureaucratic bungle inside Brussels.
And when isn’t their a bureaucratic bungle inside Brussels – like dry days on the M62, bungle-free days never happen
Or maybe, this is much more likely, the tax-free supermarkets in Calais were running low on Rip Off Golden Virginia and things had to be slowed while they re-stocked.
Help help UK Gov if Lez Rozbivs run low on nasty foreign baccy and cheap Pinot Grigio, said Gluggio often used to repair dead car-batteries. (It’s the UK Climate what kills them, and sitting in endless traffic jams.)
If either or those ran low then WW3 really would break out

Hope that helps, abnormal service can now resume.

December 28, 2022 1:09 am

The EU is still reeling from the Qatar corruption – suitcases stuffed with cash.

So knocking someone’s coal off seems par for the course. What did surprise me was Moonbat’s admission:

“My burning shame: I fitted my house with three wood-burning stoves”
George Monbiot – The Grauniad

You can’t be green unless you’re bent or a hypocrite – possibly both

Last edited 5 months ago by strativarius
Rod Evans
Reply to  strativarius
December 28, 2022 1:38 am

I was having a good day until you informed me the Green Loon High Priest at the Guardian was burning wood in one of his three wood burners.
The thought of that hypocrite taking away the sensible energy option of wood from the normal members of society really rankles.
What ever you do don’t tell me he drives around in a diesel powered Range Rover….

Reply to  Rod Evans
December 28, 2022 2:47 am

He takes self-loathing to a whole new level

Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 28, 2022 2:49 am

Believe me, Eric, nobody in their right mind wants a heat pump – unless they have a masochistic streak

Coeur de Lion
December 28, 2022 2:03 am

Poor sad South Africa. But I can’t say it was a better place under British rule. Orderly, perhaps. Then we lost the Boer War (don’t argue, check it out). Boers in charge, gallant WW2, apartheid, facilis decensus averno.

December 28, 2022 3:39 am

Nothing to see here if they’re diesel trucks with carbon offsets or BEVs but I’m concerned about the helicopter fuel.

Henry Pool
December 28, 2022 4:57 am

South Africans no longer have to tiptoe to please USA and EU for emission reductions. There is no warming caused by more carbondioxide.

Last edited 5 months ago by Henry Pool
Henry Pool
Reply to  Henry Pool
December 28, 2022 5:20 am

I also don’t see what the global warming story is about. I think it is hardly more than 1 degree C since (global) measurements began?
Wood for Trees: Interactive Graphs

Barnes Moore
December 28, 2022 5:31 am

Where in Europe is this coal going? I know it is only a rumor, but if it is true, it seems it could be found out.

Henry Pool
Reply to  Barnes Moore
December 28, 2022 8:50 am

It is going to Rotterdam, first.

December 28, 2022 9:27 am

I am often amazed at the free market.
Need more food? Farmers will grow more.
Need more oil? Companies will drill more.
Price signals drive a free economy and can incredibly raise living standards.
So, this is just an example of entrepreneurs responding to price signals.

Henry Pool
Reply to  joel
December 28, 2022 9:48 am

I am not sure. Do you like sitting us in darkness (In SA) while the good coal goes to EU?

Reply to  Henry Pool
December 28, 2022 11:08 am

In a functioning free market, South African coal miners will dig more coal and sell it abroad, leading to increased prosperity in South Africa.
This assumes an honest government which enforces the law and makes companies honor contracts.
When shortages develop, it is very often due to government regulations.

December 28, 2022 12:46 pm

They came for the nation, stayed for the natural resources. This is a model followed most recently in Libya, etc.

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